Thursday, August 9, 2012

Good News Following Surgery

Family, friends and faithful readers, I have not felt very well for a couple of days as I have been coming down off a medication that truly sucked the life out of me recently. I appreciate the opportunity for the time to recoup and resume my daily activities again. I am sorry my posts have been few and far between lately. I look forward to moving through my journey again with you now.

True child-like head strong independence.
Putting on my best "I'm not listening" face.
I have been head-strong and independent since I was a little girl (as seen in the picture to the right). So it was no surprise to my family that I had been able to stay in the hospital overnight for several weeks now by myself. There had only been one instance where I asked my mom to stay the night when I was having such issues with my pain level. But, before the surgery today (September 30, 2008), I had asked mom to stay once again. Not because I was in pain, but because I was headed to surgery so late in the day, I didn't want to wake up from anesthesia without a familiar face near me for comfort.

So, my mom indulged my moment of child-like need to be there to comfort me as I emerged from a drug induced slumber. No dreams or nightmares for her to soothe me back to sleep from. I just needed the one person who could calm all my fears and anxieties, if even for a brief moment of consciousness as the anesthesia wore off over the hours, by just being there.

And, that is exactly what happened. I awoke for a brief moment of time for my mom to ask me, "Guess what?" I was still in a total and complete drug stooper, "I don't know. What?" She had the biggest grin from ear to ear I had ever seen on her. She ecstatically replied, "You don't have to wear the brace anymore." Apparently my mother has the idea that I can come out of surgery with my faculties fully engaged because she tells me this news as I'm coming out of anesthesia, and she told me about McCain picking Palin as his running mate when I awakened from my first surgery in the ICU. I cannot remember if I had any response to her at that moment or if I had drifted back to never-never-land, but I was so tired from the drugs I just wanted to sleep and she knew it. She let me have my sleep, but come morning everything would be different.

I had had a bad night of restlessness from the anesthesia wearing off. I tossed quite a bit in bed, as I could in my condition. I was fairly agitated as my body adjusted from being overwhelmed with narcotics and sleep aids to coming back down to a sense of normalcy to my regular pain medication and anti-biotic regimen. I had been on a serious daily dose of medication called Vancomycin. It was one of the strongest, if not the strongest, anti-biotic they could give me to rid my body of the infection which had brought me back to City of Hope from rehab.

I slowly awakened to the nurses taking my morning vitals before the shift change at 7 am. I drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of hours trying desperately to regain some of my ever so broken sleep the night before. Mom made herself as presentable as she could after sleeping on the make-shift bed which doubled as a chair during the day and trotted down the hall to fix whatever else she could with a hair pick and the washroom. Then she came back to grab her change purse as she softly asked if I wanted anything. She was headed to the coffee cart down the hall from my room. They would make her what they could that was a decent attempt to be the Starbucks she really craved. I politely declined as she pulled the door closed behind her and I rolled my head back away from the hallway light still attempting to peak through the slit of the doorway still remaining open.

Mom returned a few minutes later with cup in hand and attempted to be as quiet as she could. What my mom didn't know, was that she was not at all as quiet as she thought. I finally gave up trying to gain a little more sleep at this moment as it seemed like a futile attempt. Mom always apologized for making so much noise. But it wasn't anything she could help, she came by it honestly. My grandmother and her mother before her were notorious for digging through their purses, having bracelets that jingled all the way to somewhere, and rattling through papers if they could get their hands on them. My mom was becoming another version of them. She didn't like it, but it was happening. All I can do to this day is to remind her that it WILL happen and not to fight it. I had already come to recognize this was a trait that was passed down from generation to generation, and I was next on that list like it or not. I resolved to let nature take its course, and I thought mom should too.

Sporting the "No More" look about the bace.
Now that I was awake, I was beginning to replay the night before. I was sure that I had had a conversation with my mom that was very important, then again was I dreaming it? I had to ask to know for sure. "Mom? Did you tell me last night that I don't have to wear the brace anymore? Or, did I dream that up?" She stopped what she was doing and turned around to face me saying, "Yes, I did tell you you don't have to wear it anymore. But, you were too out of it I didn't think you would remember."

Wow! In four and a half weeks I had made enough progress physically that the brace wasn't more than a lawn decoration at this point. Sometime today or tomorrow I was going to take my first steps as a free woman on a walker with my therapists, family and nurses cheering me on with no brace to support the prosthetic hip. I was in a state of shock now that I was fully conscious.

Mom and I started to talk about when we had first talked about the brace with Dr. Femino and Helen. Dr. Femino thought that it might be six months or so before I could go without that custom monstrosity. With my sense of "fight," and the fact that I hated this brace pinching me and being so hot, I had worked hard to gain strength in walking with it and the Lord had mercy on me releasing me for "good behavior" (maybe just blessing me because He could) from within the prison of a foam and hard plastic shell with velcro and metal straps that bound me tight and pinched my leg. No ill feelings were there about Tim, the man who constructed the brace for me. Neither did I have ill feelings toward Dr. Femino who insisted I have it. No, my time with this brace was over and I couldn't have been happier. Now it was time to boogie down the halls without anything to constrict me any more.

All I could say at this point was "Praise be to the Lord!"

Next, "Back to Rehab."

"And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Exodus 33:19

"Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

"Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony." Psalm 6:2

"The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer." Psalm 6:9

"Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy." Psalm 28:6

What was it like for you as you were shown mercy from the Lord when you least expected it?

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